Just hours after tragedy struck, one 15-year-old student from Arlington, Texas, joined her community in prayer not just for the four people injured by a gunman who opened fire in her school Wednesday, but for the shooter himself.
“I want to pray for the shooter, Lord God,” said Ashlyn Henson, praying through tears. “That you’d touch his mind. Touch his heart, Jesus. That you allow him to see his wrong. That you allow him to feel that remorse and that pain he caused. And that he fixes himself in your eyes, Lord God.”
Henson shared her grief during an evening prayer service at Cornerstone Baptist Church, where the youth minister, Al Curley, reminded the community those horrible things happen because of the sin in the world, urging them to turn to Jesus for solace.
“When tragedy strikes, it is important, friends, for you and I to realize that, even though we might be feeling what we feel, there’s a place that we can go,” Curley said. “There’s a God that we can run to. … The Bible tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn.”
“As Christians,” he continued, “we know that sin is the cause of why many things happen. And we know the answer to that problem is Jesus.”
He went on to urge fellow believers to “proclaim hope” in the midst of despair.
“And the hope is that God so loved the world that He gave His Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” Curley added, referencing John 3:16. “Yes, the world is fleeting and the world is perishing, but, for those of us who have the assurance of hope in Jesus Christ, we have the promise of everlasting life. We’ve got to share that to somebody else, because that message of the Gospel, that message of redemption might be the only thing that keeps them holding on.”
Arlington residents, students, and church members came together Wednesday night, only hours after shots rang out in Timberview High School in the Mansfield school district, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The suspected gunman, an 18-year-old student, was taken into custody by police after he began firing shots in a classroom. The alleged shooter, Timothy Simpkins, turned himself in with his attorney Wednesday afternoon.
Kevin Kolbye, the assistant chief of the Arlington Police Department, said a 15-year-old male and a 25-year-old male, later identified as an English teacher, were shot. Another female student was grazed by a bullet and a pregnant woman fell and sustained minor injuries but declined treatment.
Police said the 15-year-old student underwent surgery Wednesday and was in critical condition. The other two patients were recovering well.
Please be in prayer for the victims as they recover as well as the students and families involved in this tragic situation.
HD Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
The increasing violence that has flooded the news, has resulted in the astonishment and confusion of many. Why are violent and senseless crimes on such a dramatic rise? One could rightfully point the finger at politicians, groups from the radical left, like Antifa and BLM, and others promoting an atmosphere of lawlessness. However, it is the Bible that provides us with the keenest insight into this difficult issue.
In God’s Word, we are told that our sinful nature as humans is why events like this occur. Furthermore, as our culture moves farther away from God our collective conscience becomes increasingly seared. There are major problems that arise from the rejection of God’s standards of morality, when “every man [does] that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25).
The Bible not only gives us an understanding of violence and lawlessness as a whole, but more specifically, God provides us with answers as to why we are seeing this rise in our generation.
In the time prior to the return of Christ, Jesus told his disciples that “the love of many” would “wax cold” as a result of widespread “iniquity/lawlessness” (Matthew 24:12).
Similarly, Jesus explained that the world would be “as it was in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37) and “as it was in the days of Lot” (Luke 27:26-28). Hal Lindsey, speaking on the topic, elaborated on what characteristics were prominent in the generations of these two men:
“The Bible foretold that the time near the return of Christ would be marked by lawlessness,” Lindsey explained. “In Luke 17:26-30, Jesus compared those days to the times of Noah and Lot. Genesis 6:11 tells us that in the time of Noah, ‘The earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.'”
“That sounds like today-rampant violence and corruption,” he concluded. “Lot lived in a time and place of violent mobs. In both stories, we see that people lacked empathy, and thought mostly of themselves and their pleasures. Several places in the Bible warn us that the end times will be times of ‘lawlessness.’ That, along with so many other signs, seems to be describing our day.”